Friday, March 02, 2012

A firey 54th 500

What follows is an excellent recap of this year's Daytona 500 by this blog's most loyal reader, Jake DaSnake.  As you'll be able to tell from this guest blog, it was a very exciting race, even if many people, including yours truly, were unable to see the ending live:

The 54th running of the Daytona 500 was rained out for the first time ever. The race was then moved from twelve o'clock on Monday to seven o'clock, when the race did start with Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle in the front row.  I don't think anyone expected what came next.
Going into the second lap Elliot Sadler tapped Jimmy Johnson, sending him into the wall, in the crash Danica Patrick was wrecked making this  her third  crash of this weekend at Daytona. David Ragan, Trevor Bayne and Kurt Busch  also were involved, only Ragan and Johnson were forced out for good.
The next incident happened on the 13th lap when Ryan Newman lost a tire and spun and then was rear ended in the pits by A.J. Allmendinger. Jeff Gordon blew up his engine on lap 81, and then the race for the halftime money of $200,000 was being held with Martin Truex Jr. getting the push for the halfway money.
The incident on lap 160 involving Juan Pablo Montoya trying to catch up to the pack on a yellow caution was probably one of the most spectacular and the most odd that I have ever seen. Montoya is driving near the bottom apron going into turn three, when he suddenly lurches straight into a jet drier truck being driven close to the outside wall, the ensuing crash causes an instantaneous explosion and fireball. The #42 careens off to the center field and Montoya climbs out of his car, the drier driver is also pulled out and helped to safety.
With all the fire and dripping jet fuel the race is red flagged for more than two hours, during this time track officials douse the fire and then remove the burned out truck.  They then have the task of checking the track surface for any fire damage and making certain the fuel spill is cleaned up.  The fire damage is patched over, and the track is ready for the final forty laps.
While this is going on the drivers are meeting on the track...I would imagine comparing race info, except for Brad Keslowski who is tweeting to his followers.  He increased his following by 55,000 people in the time the red flag was up.  (Where had he kept this phone?)
The highlight of this was Dave Blaney, a 75-1 underdog having the lead due to a later than most pit stop.  I think one thing he was hoping for was a rainfall or a called race for a damaged track, but that was not to be. With another spinout taking Tony Stewart out with a few laps remaining and some pounding by Denny Hamlin the final laps were good for Matt Kenseth who was having a great run with his teammate Greg Biffle running second and Dale Earnhart Jr. running third.  Biff helped Matt from a late charging Jr. but could not help himself as Jr. pulled alongside him and slingshot himself to second place.
All in all the race was entertaining and had the usual pack race big crashes that have been missing the last two years because of the two-car draft.  The fans spoke and NASCAR listened, giving us a good race for the start of another great season. If  the rest of the season is as entertaining as this (minus the fire), I think the rule changes pertaining to the two car draft are well worth it.
 Jake would love to hear your comments about the race.


Zebster said...

I am curious where Brad kept his phone and why he felt the need to have it with him. LOL My 3 drivers ran well, though in the end the #9 had the best finish at 13th because the #5 and #43 were involved in one of the late accidents. Great job, Jake.

Anonymous said...

The only reason why I saw the final 40 laps is because of JPM's accident and the resulting red flag. I'm glad he and the jet dryer's driver are okay.

dasnake said...

i thought it was a good race, the pack mentality has basically returned with a little two car drafting going on, but the cars are a lot closer in speed, two car or single car, so there is a small edge but with the heating problem rearing fast they can't stay together to long.
i don't think jr. had the speed to top matt but the 88 team gave it a real run for the fans and i think the time for jr. nation might finally be here.
i feel danica has a long road to go, her skills are there but she needs laps and time, and she also needs the media to leave her alone, i think time will tell for her to blossom.
as for brad and his phone, he had a bad accident a few years ago and without going to deep into it, he swore he would never be without a phone. he has a special pouch built into the car for a phone and has it all the time, last year when he crashed the wall and broke his ankle he was glad he had it.
all in all i think the racing was good, nascar seemed to go the extra mile for safety AND fan support, good all around job.

dasnake said...

well, what does everyone think of the turnaround at nascar today? this is almost precedent setting!
i think the way it started by just a gesture at daytona about the "c" pillar, and then no tech check gave hendrick a good rebuttal, the fine and the probation period til may ninth still says something was wrong but there is going to be much mulling over in the nascar world about something that a lot of people said would never happen, and it did, for myself i think it was a good move, how about ya'll?

Brent said...

I don't think that the overturning of the penalties was good. Knaus tried to gain an advantage and got caught. Also, isn't it funny that Hendrick had a good dear friend as the final arbitrator for his appeal process? Another NASCAR looking out for the good 'ol boys moment.

dasnake said...

brent, i would be inclined to agree if it wasn't for the original complaint being done at the garage and then no tech test done. with the fine left in place and the probation there still is thought for malfeasance. as for middlebrook and hendrick, that was my original point, i think there will be a lot of talk around the garage the next few weeks.